Liver transplant is the procedure of transplanting a healthy liver into patients with liver failure. Each year, thousands of people added to the waiting list of a liver transplant in India. However, the number of people receiving a new liver is far less as compared to the addition in the waiting list. People waiting for liver transplant get sick due to a shortage of liver and at the brink of dying without the transplant. Living donor liver transplant in India is another way to give such patients a new lease of life.
Living donor transplant is the procedure of obtaining a partial liver from a healthy donor and transplant it in the diseased person. Thanks to the regenerative ability of the liver which makes the process of living donor transplant possible. With best post-surgical care and adequate nutrition, the liver of both the recipient and the donor becomes fully functional within a few months of the transplantation procedure.
Because of the awareness of living donor transplant increased in patients, the number of such transplants has significantly increased. Living donor transplant has several advantages:
Save the lives of people:Living donor transplant proves to be a boon in people who are unable to continue their life because of liver failure. Prolonged waiting for the liver also adds to their woes. Living donor transplants save the lives of people who suffer from aggressive liver disease.
More improved outcome: The outcome of such liver transplant is improved because of two main reasons. First, the liver of the recipient gets transplanted before the disease affects other organs for instance to the brain which may lead to hepatic encephalopathy. Another reason for the improved outcome is the liver which is transplanted come from healthy individual leading to a fast recovery and healthy liver functioning.
Complete risk evaluation: Before the liver is received from the donor, a comprehensive health evaluation is done. This results in complete risk aversion in both the recipient and the donor.
Pre-scheduled transplant: In the case of a cadaver liver transplant, the patient has to rush to the hospital as soon as the intimation of the availability of the liver is confirmed by the hospital. Living donor transplant provides the flexibility of scheduling the transplant as per the convenience of patient and donor but within the ambit of health status.
Living donor transplant is a surgical process. The surgery is done simultaneously on the donor and the recipient. The diseased liver of the recipient is removed before the new liver is transplanted. When done by the expert and under proper care, the complications are minimum for both the recipient and donor.
Before the surgery is initiated, both the donor and recipient undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation. The tests done on donor include blood tests such as liver function tests, which analyses the functional capacity of liver and imaging tests of the liver to identify possible diseases in the liver such as liver cancer or other conditions. It is to be noted that the donor must conform to the stated criteria for donor and eligibility of the donor is analyzed by a liver transplant specialist. The doctor, through computation, ensures that the liver remaining in the donor will be sufficient enough to perform essential functions until the liver regrows to the original volume. The donor should avoid rigorous activities for 6-8 weeks after the surgery.
Opting for the living donor transplantation by the recipient does not mean that he is omitted from the waiting list. He will be on the waiting list until the procedure of liver transplantation gets completed.
The total duration of surgery is 6-8 hours. The donor does not need any long-term medications while the recipient receives various medications some of which are for prolong administration such as immunosuppressants.
The total hospital stay for both the donor and recipient is approximately one week and within a few months, the liver grows into its natural size.
The liver can be donated by family, friends, relatives, and acquaintance of the recipient. There is no age limit for the donor provided the donor is healthy without any underlying hepatic disorders.
Recipients who are eligible for getting a liver transplant can opt for a living donor transplant. It is important to note that a suitable matching (ABO matching) is preferred for successful transplant outcomes.